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Iran Blocks 'Illegal' VPNs, Google, and Yahoo

timothy posted about a year ago | from the governments-of-the-world-unite dept.

Censorship 176

First time accepted submitter voul writes "Iran is at it again. Taking a page from China's playbook, Iran has moved to cut off illegal VPNs. 'Quite aware of the censorship they face, many Iranians use proxy servers over virtual private networks to circumvent government restrictions and mask their activities,' CNET reports. 'However, officials now say they have blocked use of the "illegal" tool.' Slashgear reports that users are 'unable to access social networks like Facebook and Twitter, or use services like Skype to make phone calls. Along with the blocking of the VPNs, the Iranian government have also blocked access to Google and Yahoo.'"

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176 comments

Iran (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43134053)

You're not one who has ever had a stupidity exert itself in your face. You're not one who knows of stupidity exerting itself in your face. Therefore, all of your arguments are 100% incorrect.

With Friends Like These, Who Needs Sanctions? (4, Insightful)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | about a year ago | (#43134059)

So, we are going to handle the physical sanctions and the Iranian government is going to handle the internet sanctions. Sounds like a great plan!

Re:With Friends Like These, Who Needs Sanctions? (0)

alantus (882150) | about a year ago | (#43134821)

How the hell did this get modded insightful?

For the clueless moderators, its kind of implied that internet won't be limited to the elite ruling Iran, but to the general population, just like in Cuba, North Korea, and other autocracies.

Re:With Friends Like These, Who Needs Sanctions? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43135285)

And the physical sanctions are deliberately porous too, what is your point?

Not entirely (4, Informative)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | about a year ago | (#43135737)

http://nos.nl/artikel/483130-ahmadinejad-onder-vuur-om-knuffel.html

For those unfortunate enough not to be Dutch, the article claims Ahmadinejad is under attack from the religious leadership for hugging/comforting the wife of Chavez. In Islam, touching women is forbidden, unlike say goats. Not even the president, acting in an world with many cultures escapes this. There are of course many rules which only apply to the ruled but some dictatorships manage to suppress everyone, except those who like the suppression.

NK is rather famous for going after even Generals who don't show the right amount of grieve. There are systems where even the holiest are not immune to the system.

This is not saying these systems are nice but to understand them, you need to understand that the idea of the evil overlord at the top controlling all is best left to the movies. Most of these systems have become self perpetuting, it is the system that rules the people, not people. Of course, the system is people in the end but what I mean is that those doing the dictating are just as much dictated as the rest. That is why these systems endure for so long. Because if one leader should falter, the system simply replaces him or pulls him back in line. Dictators change, the system endures. And it isn't creepy guys meeting in secret, it is grannies who spy on their neighbors and are first in line at the stonings. That is why the west has been unable to "liberate" Iraq or Afghanistan. Because they shot the "leaders" who are just puppets of the systems and left the grannies who tell their grandsons they will go to heaven and stone their granddaughters for not obeying their grandmothers little empires, alone.

Want to fix the world? Kill the people behind the curtains watching and reporting.

Re:Not entirely (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43135903)

In Islam, touching women is forbidden, unlike say goats.

Wow, what do you have in your skull?

Re:Not entirely (0)

flyingfsck (986395) | about a year ago | (#43135955)

Yup, the only way to fix a religious dictatorship is to nuke the whole country. While there is a single stone left that hasn't been pulverized the whole mess will just re-invent itself again.

Re:With Friends Like These, Who Needs Sanctions? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43135749)

I don't mean to be argumentative, but I can't imagine how that is "kind of implied." The Free use of the Internet will be limited to those in power. The general population will be scared to use it for gathering factual news, and scared to use it to share the details of their plight because even the attempt to do so could land them in very unfriendly jails.

The GPs point is that it's the general population that is hurt by the physical sanctions and it's they who bear the cost of the data sanctions. The Presidential family will not lose their jobs due to a shortage of import-restricted car parts; they can gather news from everywhere and communicate with anyone.

Whether the sanctions are effective and appropriate is a long, difficult conversation, but who they most punish is not.

Iran cut off from the Internet... (0)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about a year ago | (#43134067)

...and nothing of value was lost. (Unless you happen to live there, that is.)

Re:Iran cut off from the Internet... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43134207)

The only thing good to ever come out of Iran was the oil. When that's gone it will return to being the shit hole that it always was before the oil was found.

Re:Iran cut off from the Internet... (4, Informative)

r1348 (2567295) | about a year ago | (#43134295)

You fail at history.

Re:Iran cut off from the Internet... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43134607)

Also barely a C- at trolling. I miss the days when the bridge-dwellers put some effort into it, back when it was easy to get banned from places for obvious shit-stirring.

Re:Iran cut off from the Internet... (1)

DFurno2003 (739807) | about a year ago | (#43134863)

As an American, I normally jump at the chance to badmouth Iran. I strongly urge you to look at the history of that area before making a statement like that. Iran was once a very westernized place and before that it was many other things.

Re:Iran cut off from the Internet... (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43135011)

Iran, as Persia, was a pretty civilized country before the Muslims overran it. Once they became Islamic, it was all over. The AC who stated that the only good thing they have to give is oil is correct - and the same is true about Iran's neighbors, like Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Kuwait, Emirates, Qatar, et al.

Re:Iran cut off from the Internet... (2)

Pro-feet (2668975) | about a year ago | (#43135821)

And what about the people, they all turned extremist and dumb all of a sudden? I find this all quite insulting to the several Iranians I have met and worked with. They (also women!) typically are well schooled, well opiniated, and very different from the neighbours you mention.

Re:Iran cut off from the Internet... (4, Interesting)

fearofcarpet (654438) | about a year ago | (#43135811)

Not just history, but current events. A combination of a bloody, eight-year war with Iraq and policies that encouraged large families have lead to a glut of young people; something like 2/3 of the population is ~30. That generation is not particularly religious (particularly not by the standards that most Americans use to hypocritically stereotype the Middle East), is very pro-Western and anti-isolationism, well-educated, and very aware of the world. The policies of the country, however, are dominated by a small, ultra-conservative minority of old assholes. Decades of turmoil and common sense drive smart, young people out of the country rather than driving them to stay and launch some sort of up-rising that may result in an even worse regime. They watched the "Arab Spring" and took away the lesson that the arabs didn't really improve their situation. Those that see the sanctions as the fault of their government's stubbornness want out, those that see them as the fault of the imperialist West don't; everyone agrees that the sanctions hit ordinary Iranians the hardest.

When you see sweeping generalizations about intolerance, religious fundamentalism, and insane foreign policy, just remember that the Bush administration arrested and tortured people in secret prisons with no trials. Does that mean that all ~300,000,000 Americans supported that policy? Should the world now treat all Americans like paranoid war-mongers that embrace pre-emptive war and a police state? Was Bush v Gore definitive evidence that Americans can't hold fair elections? If you answered yes, then feel free to un-hypocritically pass the same sort of judgements against the entire population of another country with crazy political leaders. Otherwise, put yourself in the shoes of a 28-year-old with an advanced degree that is fluent in English and that has to use an "illegal" VPN to exercise your curiosity of the outside world--would contribute to society by risking everything to join a violent rebellion or by trying to get out and establish a career and citizenship in the West?

Re:Iran cut off from the Internet... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43134221)

...and nothing of value was lost. (Unless you happen to live there, that is.)

What was lost was a nation of people that could contribute their creativity to the rest of the internet. We have lost quite a lot.

Re:Iran cut off from the Internet... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43134611)

Yeah, now there's one less nation to ask for things that offend their beliefs to be taken down from the Internet, what a loss.

Re:Iran cut off from the Internet... (-1, Flamebait)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | about a year ago | (#43134977)

What was lost was a nation of people that could contribute their creativity to the rest of the internet.
 
So when were they planing to start contributing?

MPAA Hopefully Not Paying Attention (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43134079)

Soon as MPAA realizes everyone went VPN to escape six strikes, they'll want a similar law here in the US

Of course all corporate VPNs will be exempt as long as they're willing to report any "suspicious" activity

Re:MPAA Hopefully Not Paying Attention (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43134447)

Dang, how do I add to the score for this post. It's exactly what will befall the internet in all countries for various reasons. And, if you try to create your own mesh to escape the filters and controls you'll be shut down like a pirate radio station.

Re:MPAA Hopefully Not Paying Attention (0)

julian67 (1022593) | about a year ago | (#43134767)

If you wish to boost the credibility of the post by expressing your support then it helps to begin your eulogy with a word other than "Dang".

Re:MPAA Hopefully Not Paying Attention (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43135605)

An exclamation to get attention that shouldn't be found offensive by anyone except those who realize that such exclamations are used in place of a thing more vulgar or profane. Would it have suited better for the guy to say "SHIT!!!"?

Instead of focusing on the rather innocent little exclamation you should be more worried about the fact that even though things like Tor, VPNs, hired proxies and the like are held up as solutions and workarounds for almost all these internet blocks, we have here, in Iran, a real world demonstration that such things are useless against deep packet inspection and filtering.

Such techniques will be used in the States, in Canada, in the UK, anywhere, either under the direction of the intellectual property owners or to protect us all from terrorism and any attempt to use such techniques or others to circumvent the blocks to certain types of files or information will be considered a criminal act.

For smaller files, encryption of the files within other files can be used but for larger files, streams or participation in open conversations of prohibited subjects will become harder over time.

Re:MPAA Hopefully Not Paying Attention (3, Informative)

xenobyte (446878) | about a year ago | (#43135787)

Instead of focusing on the rather innocent little exclamation you should be more worried about the fact that even though things like Tor, VPNs, hired proxies and the like are held up as solutions and workarounds for almost all these internet blocks, we have here, in Iran, a real world demonstration that such things are useless against deep packet inspection and filtering.

Sure, but we're not there yet. The blocking in Iran is nothing more than basic port and protocol blocks; just block 1723/tcp and protocol 47 (gre) and you've blocked PPTP VPN, the most common form of VPN. IPsec VPN can be blocked by blocking 500/udp and protocol esp+ah. The more rare SSL-only form of VPN is probably blocked using blacklists as no form of deep packet inspection can see inside encrypted packets and there's no other way to find out if it's a regular SSL connection or something like VPN. But then maybe they simply block all use of SSL across the borders.

Such techniques will be used in the States, in Canada, in the UK, anywhere, either under the direction of the intellectual property owners or to protect us all from terrorism and any attempt to use such techniques or others to circumvent the blocks to certain types of files or information will be considered a criminal act.

For smaller files, encryption of the files within other files can be used but for larger files, streams or participation in open conversations of prohibited subjects will become harder over time.

I agree with you there.

USA is at it again (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43134091)

USA is at it again. Taking a page from the old Roman imperialist playbook, USA has moved to put more sanctions in place to further rig the economical climate in their favor.

Re:USA is at it again (1)

MightyYar (622222) | about a year ago | (#43134125)

Hear, hear! China is not the threat some make it out to be... truly Iran is our economic rival!

Re:USA is at it again (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43134235)

what economical climate is in Iran?

we have goats, sand, and a bunch of ignorant fucks running the country, thanks but we dont need to import that from you.

Re:USA is at it again (2)

FatdogHaiku (978357) | about a year ago | (#43134433)

what economical climate is in Iran?

we have goats, sand, and a bunch of ignorant fucks running the country, thanks but we dont need to import that from you.

While I would not want to disrespect the economic and cultural nirvana that is modern Iran,
I would point out that we can export to you things like:
women wearing shorts that actually spread their ass cheeks,
thong underwear and even better,
thong swim suits,
camel toes that have nothing to do with actual camels,
college age girls that have "Daddy issues"
and the fact that getting laid regularly will seriously decrease the probability that you will end up dying in the hope of spending eternity with 72 people who by definition can not give a reasonable blow job.

Long Live Cultural Diversity!

Re:USA is at it again (2)

mrclisdue (1321513) | about a year ago | (#43134533)

....with 72 people who by definition can not give a reasonable blow job.

Blow jobs have nothing to do with virginity or sex. The best law Bill Clinton ever introduced to mankind.

Re:USA is at it again (2)

dcollins117 (1267462) | about a year ago | (#43135113)

Blow jobs have nothing to do with virginity or sex. The best law Bill Clinton ever introduced to mankind.

Well, it's not exactly a law, but it is one of the few positions that has wide bi-partisan support amongst politicians.

Re:USA is at it again (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43135189)

import from iran to the USA moron

we have goats, sand, and a bunch of ignorant fucks running the country

why would we need iran?

Re:USA is at it again (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | about a year ago | (#43135301)

Bigot fight, woo-hoo!

Re:USA is at it again (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43135375)

there is nothing bigotry about it, iran offers nothing in the world except for goats, sand, and ignorant lunatics

not our fault

Re:USA is at it again (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43135923)

FYI Iran does not have more sand, goats and also ignorant than the US. US has more of all three.

Why is illegal in quotations? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43134123)

Is it or is it not legal to use unauthorized VPNs in Iran?

Re:Why is illegal in quotations? (2)

SternisheFan (2529412) | about a year ago | (#43134293)

Is it or is it not legal to use unauthorized VPNs in Iran?

'State sanctioned' VPN's are the only 'legal' ones. I suppose changing ports wouldn't matter, since the Iranian internet is all run by the state.

Re:Why is illegal in quotations? (2)

wmac1 (2478314) | about a year ago | (#43134585)

There are hundreds of private ISPs but all of them pass through the government controlled gateways.

Re:Why is illegal in quotations? (3, Insightful)

v1 (525388) | about a year ago | (#43135201)

It's illegal to use a VPN that the government can't decrypt and monitor the traffic on. And they're not just wanting access "in case they need it", they run software 24/7 that flags "items of interest" for human review. If they find you're breaking any laws, as defined by their legal system (clerics and thousand year old books), or doing anything that threatens their control over their sheep (not the hoofed variety) then they lock you up or behead you or whatever they feel is appropriate.

Considering the broadness of their laws, the harshness of their penalties, and the almost complete lack of legal protection the average (non wealthy) citizen has over there, it's basically dangerous to use the internet over there, for any reason. A week of monitoring you, regardless of what you were trying to do or not do, and they are likely to have enough dirt to hang you (literally) if they feel like it. It's a scary place to live.

Web search for some goat milk recipes. Click a link. Wow look at that, the banner ad on that page is showing titties! Your computer has just downloaded porn, which is illegal to possess. That's all it takes over there to lock you up. I can't imagine how you'd go about actually using the internet over there without setting yourself up. It's a shame really, all these controlling countries (be they religious or just plain dictators like NK) are forced to create an environment of stagnation to maintain their control, and they care more for that then the future of their country. Quite sad for the people. I look at it and it's like being in the supermarket and watching some mother just scream at her kids, treating them like crap, and wishing you could do something about it, but you can't. Depressing to watch.

Re:Why is illegal in quotations? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43135561)

So this is simply a story about a government enforcing the laws of the country as they pertain to banned internet sites. Kinda like when the DoJ goes after international gambling sites. Yeah?

Almost (1)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | about a year ago | (#43135845)

You are close but you keep getting stuck in the Hollywood idea of a super villain at the top controlling everyone. So nice isn't it that when Palpatine went down the drains, the empire just collapsed and the day was won and good triumphed? All those generals and moffs and whatnot were just under the control of this Sith and just gave up their power. All those officers, sergeants and even corporals just gave up their little empires and went for democracy and freedom because that is what people do. NOT!

In Europe it is rather easy to meet people who lived under such systems, the German re-unification makes those stories very easily accesible. And the Stazi was NOT the government, it was the people. Who betrayed Anne Frank? There are three suspects and none of them are important, they were just little petty minded people looking out for number 1.

Who does the controlling? Who throws the first stone? Who votes in the council of village elders? Nobodies controlling tiny empires nobody cares about except them and which they protect with a fierceness that no emperor has ever shown protecting his empire. Ghengis Khan knew about mercy. A grandmother throwing stones does not. It is here that oppressive regimes find power. Not in the ruthlessness of the overlord but in how well he manages to get little people to have a tiny amount of power they will not let go off. It is the commisar approach, the slave with a whip, the zulus. A commisar has no real power but he has more then those below him and he will see to it that it stays that way, no matter how miserable he is, he will make sure others stay more miserable. No beating of a slave will be more savage then that by another slave who knows the whip he is holding might well be applied to his back if he doesn't keep his position of power save. The Zulus are blacks who happily sat in between the whites in south africa and other black populations, happily helping suppress the NCA (Nelson Mandela's party) in exchange for a slightly better position in the hierachy. Brown people, like Indonesians are not well liked by white supremacists either but they made an existence in South Africa by not being as black as the blacks.

GUESS how these groups reacted to the end of apartheid, to the end of their little empires of misery?

That is why change ultimately always has to come from within. Because Afghanistan isn't just war lords, it is the grannies controlling their families because without that control... actually it doesn't matter what they WOULD lose, it matters that they prefer the world as it is over a new world and will do ANYTHING to stop it. It is no different then a manager stopping the promotion of an underling because if HE doesn't get to go up, nobody does. Remember who circumcises little girls. It ain't men in black vans, it is mothers and grandmothers whose mothers and grandmothers did it to them and damn if they are going to change things. Quite recent a woman was burned alive for "witchcraft". LOOK at the vidoes of the people. There are no overlords, no shadow governments, not one single person who could die at the end of the movie and everything will be alright. Every single person there is the evil overlord in their own little world.

You can see it in Republican senators who benefitted from government handouts and so they don't want anyone else to have the benefits they have.

Remember that research recently that showed those leaning to the right feared change? Well that fear is what creates stagnation. It has been shown time and time again that people CAN overcome, can rebel, can overcome evil governments BUT the desire to keep the status quo by the other half is far more powerful then any army a dictator can wield.

Hell, revolutions only "work" if the people in the army, from the private to the general, decides that the opportunities in a new world are better then the little power they got in the old one. You can see this quite clearly in the "arab spring". Many a general switches side but keeps his troops. Exchanging one empire for another. Not a choice of good vs evil but a choice of what keeps me in power the longest.

And you need to change the minds of everyone who got the tiniest amount of power, the smallest notion that they are better off under the old regime then a new one to make a change.

And that is very very hard. But ultimately still, in Iran, the oppression is done BY the people, to the people. Rebellion is easy, giving up your current life, is not. Proof me wrong, give up yours. No doubt you can give me a thousand reasons why you don't have to, why you got no reason. Thank you for proving my point.

Heh. (5, Interesting)

detritus. (46421) | about a year ago | (#43134165)

Let's see them try to block SSH and have a functioning internet.

Re:Heh. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43134169)

Your point?

Re:Heh. (3, Interesting)

kobaz (107760) | about a year ago | (#43134205)

People (even Iranian people) need to be able to manage their networks. Block too much and there wont be a functional Iran Internet for much longer.

Re:Heh. (4, Interesting)

Pseudonym Authority (1591027) | about a year ago | (#43134263)

Block too much and there wont be a functional Iran Internet for much longer.

I not quite sure that that is one of their top concern.

Re:Heh. (1)

BoRegardless (721219) | about a year ago | (#43135085)

Block too much and the unemployed youth will finally revolt.

They know what they are missing from talking with friends in Europe.

I believe that is the point. (2)

onyxruby (118189) | about a year ago | (#43134951)

Their has been talk in the news about Iran building a giant Iran wide Intranet just for their own use. This would help ease the transition into their Intranet by removing the appeal and usability of the Internet. Effectively cutting their people off without actually cutting people off would probably fit very well in their political landscape.

Re:I believe that is the point. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43135041)

They could achieve this by flipping what private and routable addresses are in IPv4. Then they will truly be cut off from the rest of the world. Maybe they can export that to other OIC countries so that things like the Mohammed movie on the internet will be impossible to view for their citizens

Re:I believe that is the point. (2)

onyxruby (118189) | about a year ago | (#43135177)

They could achieve it by cutting the cables or any number of other technical means. For political purposes they need to first degrade the experience to make it less valuable for their citizens. By removing the ability to have privacy, Google and other feature that they don't want their citizens to have access to they diminish the value of the Internet before flipping the switch.

What they don't want is their own Arab spring, something are keenly aware of (is anyone better at stirring up dissonance in the middle east than Iran?). So far the track record for Muslim countries that have cut of the Internet and face revolution is pretty damn high. While cutting off the Internet is hardly causation many of their citizens would simply assume that it meant that it was time for their revolution to start. They have huge internal strife right now and have to be very careful about how far and how quickly they push their citizens.

I have no doubt they will cut off the Internet in some kind of technical fashion within the next 18 months. However I don't think they are going to do so before making the Internet suck so bad that nobody will miss it.

Re:Heh. (1)

DaMattster (977781) | about a year ago | (#43134699)

You can use SSH to create a SOCKS Application Proxy or a VPN. If you create a full VPN with SSH it is a bit slow because it uses TCP but is otherwise effective. It uses OpenSSH and the TUN driver. Plus, you might be able to set the SSH port to some more obscure, less used protocol.

Re:Heh. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43134783)

> Plus, you might be able to set the SSH port to some more obscure, less used protocol.

Setting the SSH port to something than other than 22 is already widely used to mitigate brute force attempts, and you can't change the protocol by changing the port.

Re:Heh. (3, Interesting)

Skapare (16644) | about a year ago | (#43134799)

And don't miss the opportunity to sockify a whole tunnel of TCP connections, instead of socksifying programs, to use with your ssh -D connection. The tun2socks program does this, and can do UDP with a remote side helper program.

They will have to shut off ssh to block it. They might, but that ends up breaking a lot more stuff and getting more of their population angry at the government.

Haha - The Tehran Chronicle (5, Interesting)

RussR42 (779993) | about a year ago | (#43134201)

The Tehran Chronicle [tehranchronicle.com] article about this mentions recent bans on Facebook and Twitter, then has links to them both after the article...

It must be a Microsoft conspiracy (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43134231)

... Since they can only use Bing to search....

Slashdot should stop the Iran bashing already (2)

Mister Liberty (769145) | about a year ago | (#43134245)

There are war mongers -- and then there's Slashdot,
and I for one would like to keep it that way.

Re:Slashdot should stop the Iran bashing already (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43134269)

Is Slashdot blocked in Iran? If not, they haven't blocked all the criticism.

Re:Slashdot should stop the Iran bashing already (4, Funny)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about a year ago | (#43135297)

Indeed. The slashdot crowd is one of the only voices of reason keeping the warmongerers at bay. The CIA would love to stage another coup, but slashdot is always there, with simpsons quotes and star wars references, to shut them down.

Keep up the censorship bashing already (4, Insightful)

Dave Emami (237460) | about a year ago | (#43135739)

Funny, I was under the impression that a large majority of Slashdot participants were in favor of unfettered communications and against censorship, especially when it comes to the Internet. There is a story category named "Your Rights Online." Should it be renamed to "Your Rights Online Unless You Live In A Country The US Considers Bad, In Which Case We'll Pretend Everything Is OK"?

Censorship should be criticized, whoever does it and wherever it is done, period.

How Can We Be Supportive? (1)

ohnocitizen (1951674) | about a year ago | (#43134261)

Is there a way for the world at large to help out, without imposing ourselves? Can we support efforts to provide technical workarounds? Can we find ways to make it harder - and costlier - for governments to censor their citizens?

Re:How Can We Be Supportive? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43134343)

You could try facebook.

Re:How Can We Be Supportive? (4, Informative)

nomad63 (686331) | about a year ago | (#43134377)

You can run a VPN server at your home. Those governments can only block so many IP addresses and they have the big VPN providers in their crosshairs. If you and another few thousand of you can spare few gigabytes per month from your bandwidth cap and somehow find a way to reach out to those people and direct them to use *your* VPN service (free of charge of course), you can safely say that you have done your part.

Re:How Can We Be Supportive? (3, Informative)

Cito (1725214) | about a year ago | (#43134423)

the largest "tool" that was blocked is Tor.

Tor has thousands of exit nodes, and all were blocked, they don't have to block specific ports they use deep packet inspection to identify if it's a proxy request or direct request and can deny all which is why at the moment Tor don't work from Iran

Re:How Can We Be Supportive? (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43134651)

One problem with this: Iran has a history of doing Deep Packet inspection and dropping all encrypted connections (or at least, non-whitelisted encrypted connections). For now, obfsproxy gets around this. Running a simple VPN will not.

Re:How Can We Be Supportive? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43135733)

We need to make an encryption mechanism that tokenizes hash values with passages from the Coran!

Re:How Can We Be Supportive? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43135591)

> somehow find a way to reach out to those people

There is an actual automated and "mass-produced" mechanism to do just that, called Tor Bridges.

Re:How Can We Be Supportive? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43135889)

Not true. I don't know about Iran, but for the past few months, China has been detecting and blocking OpenVPN connections on the fly. And seeing how China has a tendency to support similar autocratic governments like Syria, if only to preserve their own legitimacy, I wouldn't be surprised if they sold or were considering selling such technology to countries like Iran. It's harder to single out one country when "everyone" is doing it.

Re:How Can We Be Supportive? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43134441)

There's obfsproxy, a tool put out by the Tor project, designed to get around the Deep Packet inspection Iran was doing about a year ago or so. Running an obfsproxy tor bridge is probably one of the best things you can do to help. And for those not versed in Tor, running a bridge is NOT the same as running an exit node, nor does it come with the risk factor of mistaken identity resulting in excess hassling.

https://www.torproject.org/projects/obfsproxy.html.en

Re:How Can We Be Supportive? (1)

dcollins117 (1267462) | about a year ago | (#43135175)

Can we find ways to make it harder - and costlier - for governments to censor their citizens?

That's kinda the whole point of Freenet, but you'd need an internet connection to the outside world for that to work. If governments and corporations keep interfering with the free flow of ideas over the internet, I'm sure a technical solution will found. Necessity is the mother of invention, after all. I wonder if in a few years when wireless networks become ubiquitous if we can abandon large ISPs altogether in favor of many decentralized services or some sort of peer-to-peer network.

They're all crappy websites, the Iranians lose not (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43134323)

They're all crappy websites, the Iranians lose nothing of quality.

Re:They're all crappy websites, the Iranians lose (1)

wmac1 (2478314) | about a year ago | (#43135935)

Blocking Facebook is indeed good for countries, universities and companies. Wherever I go in our university (libraries, computer labs, ...) most of the students are wasting their time on Facebook and similar websites.

If Facebook was available 2000 years ago, we possibly would raid donkeys now and newton was updating his Facebook status instead of doing research.

Blocked access to Google and Yahoo, but not Bing? (2)

asserted (818761) | about a year ago | (#43134553)

This seems inconsistent.

So, of the three search engines only Google will actually use SSL, even if you go to http://google.com/ [google.com] the form is submitted over https. The other two not only won't do that, they will *downgrade* you to http even if you explicitly navigate to https://yahoo.com/ [yahoo.com] or https://bing.com/ [bing.com] . Iranians can easily use DPI to spy on Yahoo and Bing users, only Google presents a problem. So I'm not surprised Bing didn't get blocked, it's not clear to me why Yahoo did.

The only explanation i see is that Iranian gov't is stupid - DPI is too hard, let's hijack the domains or blackhole a couple AS and go shopping (or shooting, or praying to almighty allah, or whatever). As to why Bing was left out, it's either
a) Iranian gov't is stupid, they were just unaware of Bing's existence. Unlikely.
b) Bing just doesn't work well enough in Arabic for the gov't to care. Also unlikely, given that Yahoo is powered by Bing and it got banned.
c) they contacted Microsoft and reached some kind of a deal where Microsoft bends over backwards but doesn't get banned. getting caught dealing with Iranian gov't is a big risk for Microsoft, but the potential reward of being the only game in a not-so-small country of 75 million people (mostly young and active adults) is just too high.

hmm...

Re:Blocked access to Google and Yahoo, but not Bin (2)

julian67 (1022593) | about a year ago | (#43134743)

Arabic? Iranians aren't Arabs. Their language is Farsi which, unlike Arabic, is one of the Indo-European languages.

Your a,b,c conjectures are equally unrelated to anything factual or likely.

Re:Blocked access to Google and Yahoo, but not Bin (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43135629)

Arab are people from a certain part of the world, Farsi is a language. One does not effect the other. I am from Sweden; If I taught my children to only speak American English would that make them American?

Re:Blocked access to Google and Yahoo, but not Bin (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43135741)

Oh shut up already. I am not Iranian. But I know that Arab people are those that descended from the nomadic tribes that existed in the Middle East. Iranians on the other hand are descended from Persians/Babylonians. They are not ethnically the same people, culture or language group. So if you are Swedish, then you are geographically almost in the Arctic region - doesn't make you an Eskimo, does it?

Re:Blocked access to Google and Yahoo, but not Bin (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43134981)

Microsoft doesn't have a large number of employees in Iran, thus not much Bing traffic.

Re:Blocked access to Google and Yahoo, but not Bin (3, Informative)

cffrost (885375) | about a year ago | (#43135009)

[O]f the three search engines only Google will actually use SSL, even if you go to http://google.com/ [google.com] the form is submitted over https. The other two not only won't do that, they will *downgrade* you to http even if you explicitly navigate to https://yahoo.com/ [yahoo.com] or https://bing.com/ [bing.com] . Iranians can easily use DPI to spy on Yahoo and Bing users, only Google presents a problem. So I'm not surprised Bing didn't get blocked, it's not clear to me why Yahoo did.

https://duckduckgo.com/ [duckduckgo.com] and https://ixquick.com/ [ixquick.com] both support SSL/TLS. The latter allows viewing searched content through their embedded HTTPS proxy service.

Re:Blocked access to Google and Yahoo, but not Bin (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43135947)

Bing is the 28th most visited website in Iran. Google and Yahoo are the two highest.

http://www.alexa.com/topsites/countries/IR [alexa.com]

And I see the website I created a few years ago stands at 13th. I was forced to sell it for $4000 (with 50,000 members) because I was fearing they might block it and I get nothing. Last year a company wanted to buy it from current owners for $7 million (with 1.2 million members).

Btw I am struggling to earn money to finish my PhD in another country now.

Governments are all headed in this direction (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43134573)

South Korea (not the North, but the democratic south) has been on a massive censorship push as of late. Unless you know about really obscure sites, currently VPNs and torrents are basically the only way out if you want to get at porn, but in a country that likes to censor everything down to frank discussion in the LGBT community or criticism of the government, and even innocuous things like images of knives and cigarettes on TV, it's only a matter of time before those are gone as well.

Sorry to bring it up... (1)

canadiannomad (1745008) | about a year ago | (#43134613)

I'm curious how this will affect BitCoin in Iran...
My understanding is that any blocks generated in Iran after 20 hours (120 blocks) of a network split would be lost when the network rejoins. So even if no one tried a double spend attack, there could be "lost money" that has been spent.
I realize that it isn't likely anyone here would know, but are there currently routes around the firewalls that people are using to avoid this situation. Or is BitCoin still connecting fine from within Iran?

Maybe a little help is needed. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43134621)

The real story should be about the success, if any, in circumventing the blocks (not just in Iran).

social networks and repressive governments (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43134679)

Why would you post anything on social networks if you lived in a country with a repressive government? It's bad enough in the civilised world, but if your government has bad habits surely you would censor yourself to avoid trouble with the authorities?

history repeats (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43134739)

You know, there was a time when the Chinese government blocked opium, too, and look what happened.

Persian Spring (1)

Skapare (16644) | about a year ago | (#43134813)

They are probably sniffing every network connection for that string (in multiple languages). Spring is just a few weeks away.

Bing ! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43134921)

So the boys and girls at M$ are still up to no good. Typical.

Anyone Know Which VPN Types are Blocked? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43134933)

I know that China successfully blocks OpenVPN servers after a week or two once the DPI sniffs them out, but PPTP has been going strong for my China friends for many months. I hear that in China, L2TP\IPSec also does well but haven't confirmed that this is still true or not.

Does anyone have any idea if any of the major VPN types (OpenVPN, PPTP, or L2TP\IPSec) are all actively being blocked by Iran or only specific protocol ones like China?

Which VPN types are being actively blocked? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43134999)

Is this like China where pretty much only the OpenVPN type servers (including those running on standard ports) are eventually detected through Deep Packet Inspection but the other types of VPN (like PPTP) can still make it out? Are we talking just port blocking here or is DPI involved too? I would be interested in hearing from our Iranian friends which of the following are actively being blocked by the government successfully:

- OpenVPN
- PPTP
- L2TP\IPSec

Re:Which VPN types are being actively blocked? (1)

wmac1 (2478314) | about a year ago | (#43135957)

Yes, Iran does have DPI facilities. I have seen them personally 7 years ago. It was around 20 Standard racks of equipment at that time (in the main site I saw). I guess the size of equipments has increased by many times now (to cover the whole country).

But I read in a news website that they have closed VPN "ports". If that means blocking standard ports then it will be easy to change ports.

Wow. Yahoo! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43135213)

Wow. They banned Yahoo! I'm surprised they even bothered. That's gotta make the Yahoos pretty happy. Mayer's comeback plans for YHOO have clearly got somebody's attention.

Slashdot Alert. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43135377)

timothy has learned the expression "taking a page form X's playbook". Slashdot readers with a low tolerance for repeated idioms are advised to add a two-week block to their cringe-safe filters.

why live there (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43135413)

honestly.. what is the point of even living there anymore

So, its the same as the rest of the world? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43135611)

They block shit here too (EU) because it is "illegal" information, TPB and others. And they plan to do it even more (total porn ban in the EU). What is really the difference? The people in power decide what information the "masses" can handle and what they should be allowed to access... People rip on Iran and china but it is the same all over. (to varying degree)

Nothing new? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43135919)

So how many Governments throughout the western world have so far censored websites e.g Pirate Bay. Seems that Governments across the world like spoiling everybodys fun!

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